Recently a video of comedian, George Lopez, has been circling social media. In the clip, it is Lopez at one of his stand-up shows cracking a joke about Mexicans’ two rules:
“Don’t marry somebody black and don’t park in front of our house.”
A black woman in the audience stood up and expressed her distaste for his joke. Lopez took notice of her apparent disapproval and responded by telling her to “sit the f*ck down” and if she can’t take a joke, she should leave. The cherry on top was that proceeded to call the woman out of her name. He called her a “bitch” to be exact. As for the audience, they applauded and cheered Lopez on as he continued to cuss the woman out. No one stood up for her. They were all overjoyed about Lopez’s tirade.
Naturally, Black women in particular, took offense to Lopez’s behavior. He was met with backlash on Twitter especially. Along with the criticism, came the capes. The capes were from–you guessed it–cishet Black men and non-black Latinx people. They claimed that we had no room to be upset at Lopez’s behavior because we’re seemingly unbothered when rappers call women “bitches.” They also said we were too “sensitive” and we just have to understand that insulting others comes with the territory when it comes to comedy.
The responses to Black women from Black men and Non-Black people reminded me of one thing in particular: when it is time to drag Black women through the mud, people of every race, color, and creed will come together to do so. We live in a world that passionately hates Black people–Lopez’s joke exemplifying that. We also live in a world that hates women. Now what do you expect when you put these two identities together? Misogynoir, or anti-black misogyny, brings people together because the hatred for Black women is universal. It is deeply seated and it informs how people gauge Black women.
In the clip, “bitch” not only just rolls off George Lopez’s tongue. He spits it. It was backed with so much disgust and hatred. Some Black men claimed his response was not racial. He just responded that way because she was interrupting his show. I’m sure comedians deal with many hecklers throughout their careers but the way in which Lopez responded was filled with nothing but vile hatred. It was violent. Also, the flaw in this line of thinking is that it ignores how a Black woman’s blackness and womanhood are inextricable. Lopez easily called her a “bitch” not only because she was a woman but because she was a Black woman.
Largely, Black women are not valued. We are constantly dehumanized, mocked, belittled, and demeaned. People take pleasure and joy from seeing Black woman be torn apart. Why do you think berating Black women, back in the OG days of Twitter, earned Black men a large following? It was so popular to slander Black women and girls, even non-black people felt comfortable enough to do it publicly in hopes that they could build an audience as well.
Now one might ask, why would Black men side with non-Black people when it comes to Black women? Well, oftentimes, Black men with self-hatred project their resentment for their Blackness onto Black women. In hopes to be accepted more, they push Black women away. They try their best to put distance between themselves and Black women by ostracizing us. This is why Black men can easily join forces with non-black people when it’s time to spew hatred towards Black women.
It’s also because Black men have a terrible habit of not valuing issues that specifically and strictly deal with Black women. Their sexism hinders them from doing so. Anti-blackness is not an issue to them when it’s Black women feeling the worst of it. Anti-black misogyny is an issue that’s pushed to the side because they don’t even see it as an issue to begin with. Lopez calling a Black woman a bitch was nothing out of the ordinary for them because they refer to women just the same. They saw his response as justifiable because she interrupted his skit. If they think a Black woman standing up against anti-black jokes deserves to be called a bitch that shows how little they value Black women to begin with.
Being a Black woman is bittersweet. It’s exhausting to constantly defend your personhood against non-Black people and the men who share the same skin as you. It’s exhausting to know that people can never be bothered to empathize with you. It’s sad to know that out of all the divisive things in the world, the hatred of your black womanhood can bring people back together–even under a Trump presidency.
Oh the joy and unity misogynoir brings…